How Do We Get Customers?
AAMCO automotive franchise owners benefit from comprehensive plan to win customers in the 21st century
We have been the industry leader for transmission repair since we opened our doors in 1962 because we have always been a cutting-edge brand. We recognized at the very start that a recession-proof business model would require specialization and that our expertise in fixing the most complicated part of a car would ensure a sustainable customer base.
Our “Trust” advertising campaign is designed to build upon our reputation as transmission experts and win more Total Car Care business. The ads make the point that if our customers trust us to fix the most complicated part of their car, we can surely fix their brakes, change their oil, and do all of the routine maintenance work that our customers require on their vehicles.
In addition to national and regional marketing campaigns that are rolled out by the corporate office, we help our automotive franchise owners to develop strategic marketing campaigns that make sense in their local areas. Our owners also form marketing pools to develop targeted marketing campaigns on their own. We also help our owners measure their return on investment and assist in refining their local campaigns.
That’s not all. We have a strong strategy for winning business online, which has become key to gaining customers. We believe there are four key moments of truth for customers, and that by performing well during these moments, AAMCO will continue to win new customers:
First moment of truth: online searches
We believe very strongly in maintaining a positive online presence for our automotive franchises. The majority of customers now turn to the Internet as the primary way to choose an auto repair shop. That means two things: You need to be very easy to find online, and the things customers read when they search for your brand had better be good. As an iconic brand, our website ranks very well in search engines, and we optimize the site for common terms customers use. Beyond that, we work hard to make sure people know about the great work we do, and we encourage customers to let people know when they’ve had a great experience. Too often, people only speak up when something has gone wrong. We encourage customers to share all their experiences, and provide a kiosk where customers can leave reviews. As a result, our average online rating rose by almost a full point, going from 3.6 stars to 4.2 out of a total 5 stars on Google Reviews. The kiosks also let customers log negative experiences before they leave the center, which helps owners quickly reach out to address their issues and turn them back into fans.
Second moment of truth: service on the phone
AAMCO is lauded for our customer service and our ability to put our customers at ease. Typically, when customers call us, they are frustrated or worried because they believe the most expensive part of their car needs to be fixed — and needs to be fixed now. We look at that call as an opportunity to win a customer for life. We let customers know that we offer a free diagnostics check and that vehicles often need only minor repairs to run much better. When a full transmission rebuild is needed, we let them know about financing options and can help them weigh the benefits of repairing an otherwise good car versus buying a new vehicle. We help our franchise owners train their employees to provide great phone service so when a customer calls, they get immediate help and head our way.
Third moment of truth: in-store customer experience
Our customers put their trust in us, and we continue to merit that trust by making sure our owners hire the best and brightest technicians in the industry. It is essential, especially on a high-ticket item like a transmission, that all of our franchise owners have competent and trustworthy employees capable of clearly explaining the work our customers need.
We never encourage our customers to pay for work they don’t need. Sometimes a simple repair is all that’s needed, and customers are relieved. Sometimes a transmission needs a complete rebuild. Occasionally, it makes more sense to buy a newer vehicle rather than repair an older vehicle with multiple mechanical problems. Our legacy is built on trust.
Fourth moment of truth: long-term customer satisfaction
Transmission repair still accounts for 65% of our revenue, on average, but since we started offering Total Car Care in 2004, we have begun to experience a sea of change. By 2016, 66% of our customers visited us for Total Car Care, and we expect that number to rise as we continue to advertise in national and local markets. Transmission repair is a big ticket service, so it still commands the lion’s share of revenue, but AAMCO’s Total Car Care revenue has been increasing at a double-digit pace.